Working While Eating Reduces Ability to Taste Salt and Sugar

As we learned in  Driving Makes Talk Less Good, doing more than one thing at a time means a loss in performance. This also applies to tasting and working or watching TV. Paying attention to what you eat, singular focus on the eating experience may be one way to reduce the use of salt and sugar and lose weight; task loading (eating and working) dulls your sense of taste and makes you eat more.

Leaving a Flat Taste in Your Mouth

Task Load Reduces Taste Perception

In recent years, people have tended to pay less attention to their meals, often consuming them while engaging in other activities. At the same time, foods have become increasingly sweet and salty. We therefore investigated how performing concurrent activities affects taste perception and how this relates to actual consumption. Participants tasted sour, sweet, and salty substances in various concentrations under differing task loads. Our results demonstrated that under high task load (relative to low task load), participants rated the substances as less intense, consumed more of the substances, and preferred stronger tastants. Our findings suggest that increased task load reduces people’s taste perception by limiting attentional capacity to assess taste intensity and that people adjust their consumption accordingly.


3 thoughts on “Working While Eating Reduces Ability to Taste Salt and Sugar

  1. Pingback: Attentional States, Sensory Sensitivity and High Value Treats | Science of Dogs

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